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BLACK HISTORY
MONTH PROGRAM

An annual, multi-sensory & multi-disciplinary event that promotes important Black artists, art movements and art genres, the NBAF Black History Month series focuses on bringing Black art history to life.

Every Black History Month, NBAF will host immersive programming that takes a deep dive into an aspect of African American fine art, placing it squarely into historical context while highlighting the contemporary artists moving the art form forward.

Blacklisted! Banned Books Fair
Atlanta, GA

Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, February 24th & 25th, 2024, the NBAF Black History Month Program celebrated the African American authors creating work that challenges the status quo and speaks truth to power with a mini book fair and conference: Blacklisted! Banned Books Fair.
 
This interactive experience featured:

  • Moderated panel discussions with Black Authors & Intellectuals
  • Indie Black Book Market featuring African American booksellers and authors
  • Youth Book Fair with interactive children’s activities
  • Interactive exhibitions about banned African-American literature and authors
  • Social Photo booths, food vendors & more! 

Oxygen Icon Box

Video projections of Black Theater icons in conversation

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS:

This program is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Participating Authors & Activists

BOOK FAIR SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, February 24th

12PM: Blacklisted Book Fair Doors Open

12:30PM: Mirror Reflections: Encouraging Teens to Speak About Hidden Emotions Workshop + Book Signing

Presented by Dr. Ni'Cola Mitchell, Founder of Girls Who Brunch Tour, the Mirror Reflections workshop is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for teens to explore and enhance their emotional intelligence while navigating the challenges of self-esteem and mental health. This interactive workshop encourages participants to engage in introspective activities centered around looking in the mirror and expressing their thoughts and feelings. Through various exercises and discussions, teens will develop valuable skills to foster a positive self-image, understand emotions, and build resilience.

1PM: Film Screening: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I AM

An artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner, Toni Morrison.

Inspired to write because no one took a "little black girl" seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature, and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels "The Bluest Eye," "Sula" and "Song of Solomon," her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.

The film features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel "Beloved" into a feature film.

Post screening discussion hosted by The Toni Morrison Society members:

Carolyn Denard, Ph.D
Opal Moore
and Donna Harper

1:30PM: Live Reading & Book Signing –  Connie Schofield-Morrison

Join children's author, Connie Schofield-Morrison, as she reads from her collection of youth fiction and signs books for her young fans!  Her children’s books include I Got the Spooky Spirit, I Got the Rhythm, I Got the Christmas Spirit, I Got the School Spirit, and Stitch by Stitch: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom.

2PM: Youth Reading: Cabbage Patch Drag Story Hour

Join the performers of Cabbage Patch: Family Friendly Drag for Drag Story Hour! Suitable for kids of all ages!
 

3PM: Panel: Identity Wars: Anti-LGBTQIA Book Bans

Getting books about LGBTQ issues into the hands of young readers is becoming more difficult with the recent rise of book bans across the nation. Moderated by Rose Scott of WABE’s \"Closer Look\" radio program, this engaging panel discussion breaks down what’s happening around the nation, how it affects our young people, and ways to fight back for equality in representation.

Panelists include:

Tim’m West
Satchel Jester
Charles Stephens
and Mickaela Bradford

 

3:30PM: Youth Readings: Drew Charter School Young Authors Reading
Enjoy 30 minute readings by youth authors from Drew Charter School students Kaelyn Myers (E.T.U -Four girls. Different issues. The common denominator? A mysterious letter), Alia Hampton (The Obituary of Ameena Vargas - A group of teenagers investigate the death of their late cousin, Ameena), Beli Infantry Johnson (Make It Right - 17-year-old Azena Aguillard is gifted the power of teleportation as well as time travel. What she doesn’t know is that her blessing would also be a curse), and Harmoni Curry (The Closest To You - People would say Detective Leaf had a perfect life. Although his life seemed perfect, not everything is as it seems.) Suitable for Ages 12+

4:30PM: Panel: Afro-Futurism: Black Imagination as a Tool for Liberation

Join University of North Carolina Professor of Performance and Cultural Studies, Dr. Renée Alexander Craft in this engaging discussion about Black Speculative Fiction, focusing on the ways Black artists create new worlds, re-imagine existing ones, narrate their own histories, time-travel, space-jump, talk-back, and dream forward.

Black Speculative Fiction is an umbrella that includes: Afro-surrealism, Afrofuturism, Black science fiction, Black speculative fiction, and a bricolage of Afro-engineered creative bad-ass-ery.

Panelists include Speculative Fiction Authors:

Gerald L. Coleman
Jessica Cage
Violette L. Meier
Sheree Renée Thomas
and Milton J. Davis

AND MORE!

SUNDAY, February 25th

12PM: Blacklisted Book Fair Doors Open

12:30PM: Youth Reading: Breanna McDaniel

Join Children’s Author, Breanna McDaniel as she reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers!

Breanna J. McDaniel is the co-founder of REIYL (Researchers Exploring Inclusive Youth Literature) and the award-winning author of the picture book Hands Up! and Impossible Moon. A proud alumna of Emory University and Simmons University, she is currently a PhD researcher at Cambridge University.

1PM: Speaking Up Against Censorship: How We Win

Join our panel of activists working to dismantle the anti-POC and anti-LGBTQIA book bans that are sweeping the nation.  Moderated by librarian and poet, Forrest Evans, this panel will give attendees valuable insight and resources that they can use in their community to push back on the erasure of diverse voices and perspectives in our schools and libraries!

Panelists include:

Shavawn P. Simmons
Hotep
Shivi Mehta
and more!

1:00PM: Youth Reading: Shanna Miles

Join Children’s Author, Shanna Miles as she reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers! Suitable for kids 5 - 12 years old.

Shanna Miles attended the University of South Carolina where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. With a passion for reading, she continued on to Georgia State University where she earned a master’s degree in library media. When she’s not writing about Southern girls in love, in trouble, or in space, she’s sharing books with teens as a high school librarian or reading stories to her two young daughters.

1:30PM: Youth Reading: HD Hunter

Join Children’s Author, HD Hunter as he reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers! Suitable for kids 8 - 12 years old.

H.D. Hunter is a storyteller, teaching artist, and community organizer from Atlanta, Georgia. He's the author of two self-published books as well as two forthcoming books, Futureland (Random House, 2022) and Something Like Right (FSG, 2023). He's also the winner of several indie book awards for multicultural fiction. Hugh is committed to stories about Black kids and their many expansive worlds.

2PM: Youth Reading: Cabbage Patch Drag Story Hour

Join the performers of Cabbage Patch: Family Friendly Drag for Drag Story Hour! Suitable for kids 4 - 8 years old.
 
3PM: Youth Workshop: Kool Kids Grow: AgVenture Workshop
 
Join us for an exciting and educational experience as we dive into the world of agriculture and agribusiness with Kendall Rae Johnson, the youngest certified farmer and agpreneur! Our Kool Kids Grow: AgVenture Workshop is designed to inspire and educate young minds about the fascinating journey of farming, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Suitable for kids 7 - 12 years old.

3:00PM: The Legacy of a Leader – Dear Martin in the face of anti-black book bannings

Since its release in 2017, the #1 New York Times bestselling Dear Martin has provoked readers worldwide to ask one pivotal question: if Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader extraordinaire, were alive today, what would he have to say about current events and the state of the world as it is here two decades into the twenty-first century?

Leaning into a little-known interview from 1967, in this talk, Author Nic Stone will walk the audience through some of the things on Dr. King’s mind shortly before his assassination, will connect some of his observations and concerns then to many of the challenges we face in societies now, and will discuss the ways books like Dear Martin can help us bridge the gap between Dr. King’s famous dream and where we are today.

4:30PM: Panel: Beyond the Blacklist: Black Voices in the face of Book Bans

Join us for a lively and engaging discussion about the current state of nationwide anti-black, anti-LGBTQIA book bans with an all-star panel of authors and activists and learn what you can do to push back on this recent wave of censorship.

Panelists include:

Author Tayari Jones
Author & Community Activist, Kimberly Jones
Author, Activist & Educator, Dr. Akinyele Umoja
Author, Scholar-Activist, Dr. Yaba Blay
Director of Outreach & Engagement at PEN America, William Johnson
Policy and Advocacy Director, ACLU of Georgia, Chris Bruce, Esq.,
and Writer & Community Activist, Feminista Jones

AND MORE!

 

Participating Authors & Activists
Book Fair Schedule

SATURDAY, February 24th

12PM: Blacklisted Book Fair Doors Open

12:30PM: Mirror Reflections: Encouraging Teens to Speak About Hidden Emotions Workshop + Book Signing

Presented by Dr. Ni'Cola Mitchell, Founder of Girls Who Brunch Tour, the Mirror Reflections workshop is designed to provide a safe and supportive space for teens to explore and enhance their emotional intelligence while navigating the challenges of self-esteem and mental health. This interactive workshop encourages participants to engage in introspective activities centered around looking in the mirror and expressing their thoughts and feelings. Through various exercises and discussions, teens will develop valuable skills to foster a positive self-image, understand emotions, and build resilience.

1PM: Film Screening: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I AM

An artful and intimate meditation on the life and works of the legendary storyteller and Nobel prize-winner, Toni Morrison.

Inspired to write because no one took a "little black girl" seriously, Morrison reflects on her lifelong deconstruction of the master narrative. Woven together with a rich collection of art, history, literature, and personality, the film includes discussions about her many critically acclaimed works, including novels "The Bluest Eye," "Sula" and "Song of Solomon," her role as an editor of iconic African-American literature and her time teaching at Princeton University.

The film features interviews with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez, and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel "Beloved" into a feature film.

Post screening discussion hosted by The Toni Morrison Society members:

Carolyn Denard, Ph.D
Opal Moore
and Donna Harper

1:30PM: Live Reading & Book Signing –  Connie Schofield-Morrison

Join children's author, Connie Schofield-Morrison, as she reads from her collection of youth fiction and signs books for her young fans!  Her children’s books include I Got the Spooky Spirit, I Got the Rhythm, I Got the Christmas Spirit, I Got the School Spirit, and Stitch by Stitch: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly Sews Her Way to Freedom.

2PM: Youth Reading: Cabbage Patch Drag Story Hour

Join the performers of Cabbage Patch: Family Friendly Drag for Drag Story Hour! Suitable for kids of all ages!
 

3PM: Panel: Identity Wars: Anti-LGBTQIA Book Bans

Getting books about LGBTQ issues into the hands of young readers is becoming more difficult with the recent rise of book bans across the nation. Moderated by Rose Scott of WABE’s \"Closer Look\" radio program, this engaging panel discussion breaks down what’s happening around the nation, how it affects our young people, and ways to fight back for equality in representation.

Panelists include:

Tim’m West
Satchel Jester
Charles Stephens
and Mickaela Bradford

 

3:30PM: Youth Readings: Drew Charter School Young Authors Reading
Enjoy 30 minute readings by youth authors from Drew Charter School students Kaelyn Myers (E.T.U -Four girls. Different issues. The common denominator? A mysterious letter), Alia Hampton (The Obituary of Ameena Vargas - A group of teenagers investigate the death of their late cousin, Ameena), Beli Infantry Johnson (Make It Right - 17-year-old Azena Aguillard is gifted the power of teleportation as well as time travel. What she doesn’t know is that her blessing would also be a curse), and Harmoni Curry (The Closest To You - People would say Detective Leaf had a perfect life. Although his life seemed perfect, not everything is as it seems.) Suitable for Ages 12+

4:30PM: Panel: Afro-Futurism: Black Imagination as a Tool for Liberation

Join University of North Carolina Professor of Performance and Cultural Studies, Dr. Renée Alexander Craft in this engaging discussion about Black Speculative Fiction, focusing on the ways Black artists create new worlds, re-imagine existing ones, narrate their own histories, time-travel, space-jump, talk-back, and dream forward.

Black Speculative Fiction is an umbrella that includes: Afro-surrealism, Afrofuturism, Black science fiction, Black speculative fiction, and a bricolage of Afro-engineered creative bad-ass-ery.

Panelists include Speculative Fiction Authors:

Gerald L. Coleman
Jessica Cage
Violette L. Meier
Sheree Renée Thomas
and Milton J. Davis

AND MORE!

SUNDAY, February 25th

12PM: Blacklisted Book Fair Doors Open

12:30PM: Youth Reading: Breanna McDaniel

Join Children’s Author, Breanna McDaniel as she reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers!

Breanna J. McDaniel is the co-founder of REIYL (Researchers Exploring Inclusive Youth Literature) and the award-winning author of the picture book Hands Up! and Impossible Moon. A proud alumna of Emory University and Simmons University, she is currently a PhD researcher at Cambridge University.

1PM: Speaking Up Against Censorship: How We Win

Join our panel of activists working to dismantle the anti-POC and anti-LGBTQIA book bans that are sweeping the nation.  Moderated by librarian and poet, Forrest Evans, this panel will give attendees valuable insight and resources that they can use in their community to push back on the erasure of diverse voices and perspectives in our schools and libraries!

Panelists include:

Shavawn P. Simmons
Hotep
Shivi Mehta
and more!

1:00PM: Youth Reading: Shanna Miles

Join Children’s Author, Shanna Miles as she reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers! Suitable for kids 5 - 12 years old.

Shanna Miles attended the University of South Carolina where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. With a passion for reading, she continued on to Georgia State University where she earned a master’s degree in library media. When she’s not writing about Southern girls in love, in trouble, or in space, she’s sharing books with teens as a high school librarian or reading stories to her two young daughters.

1:30PM: Youth Reading: HD Hunter

Join Children’s Author, HD Hunter as he reads family friendly stories that will excite and engage young readers! Suitable for kids 8 - 12 years old.

H.D. Hunter is a storyteller, teaching artist, and community organizer from Atlanta, Georgia. He's the author of two self-published books as well as two forthcoming books, Futureland (Random House, 2022) and Something Like Right (FSG, 2023). He's also the winner of several indie book awards for multicultural fiction. Hugh is committed to stories about Black kids and their many expansive worlds.

2PM: Youth Reading: Cabbage Patch Drag Story Hour

Join the performers of Cabbage Patch: Family Friendly Drag for Drag Story Hour! Suitable for kids 4 - 8 years old.
 
3PM: Youth Workshop: Kool Kids Grow: AgVenture Workshop
 
Join us for an exciting and educational experience as we dive into the world of agriculture and agribusiness with Kendall Rae Johnson, the youngest certified farmer and agpreneur! Our Kool Kids Grow: AgVenture Workshop is designed to inspire and educate young minds about the fascinating journey of farming, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Suitable for kids 7 - 12 years old.

3:00PM: The Legacy of a Leader – Dear Martin in the face of anti-black book bannings

Since its release in 2017, the #1 New York Times bestselling Dear Martin has provoked readers worldwide to ask one pivotal question: if Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader extraordinaire, were alive today, what would he have to say about current events and the state of the world as it is here two decades into the twenty-first century?

Leaning into a little-known interview from 1967, in this talk, Author Nic Stone will walk the audience through some of the things on Dr. King’s mind shortly before his assassination, will connect some of his observations and concerns then to many of the challenges we face in societies now, and will discuss the ways books like Dear Martin can help us bridge the gap between Dr. King’s famous dream and where we are today.

4:30PM: Panel: Beyond the Blacklist: Black Voices in the face of Book Bans

Join us for a lively and engaging discussion about the current state of nationwide anti-black, anti-LGBTQIA book bans with an all-star panel of authors and activists and learn what you can do to push back on this recent wave of censorship.

Panelists include:

Author Tayari Jones
Author & Community Activist, Kimberly Jones
Author, Activist & Educator, Dr. Akinyele Umoja
Author, Scholar-Activist, Dr. Yaba Blay
Director of Outreach & Engagement at PEN America, William Johnson
Policy and Advocacy Director, ACLU of Georgia, Chris Bruce, Esq.,
and Writer & Community Activist, Feminista Jones

AND MORE!

 

View photos & videos from the 2024 Black History Month program below!

TESTIFY SUNDAY BRUNCH:
TRIBUTE TO BLACK MUSICAL THEATRE

Fulton County Arts & Culture presents:
Testify: A Brunch Tribute to African American Musical Theatre
honoring Fulton County’s Black women artists, advocates and icons!

11AM – 2PM$150pp

The kick-off event to NBAF’s Black History Month program, the Testify Sunday Brunch is an upscale celebration of the rich history of Black Musical Theatre, and Fulton County’s cultural workers that have championed the arts in our county for decades. 

Fulton County award honorees include:

  • Camille Russell Love: Executive Director, City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Sue Ross: Photo-Griot, Artist & Cultural Worker
  • Alice Lovelace: Poet, Playwright & Executive Director, ArtsXchange

A dynamic walk thru the canons of Black musicals, this event will feature a voyage through Black musical theater history with live performances from nationally celebrated musical theater stars:

  • 2022 Tony Award winner and Atlanta native, Joaquina Kalukango
  • Broadway Actor, Galen J. Williams
  • 2022 New York Times Critic’s Pick, Maiesha McQueen
  • 2022 LGBTQ+ Emerging Artists, Victor Jackson
  • 2022 for a Suzi Bass Award Nominee, Amitria Fanaé
  • Actor & Composer, Christian Magby
  • Broadway Actress, Aisha Jackson
  • Broadway Actress, Maia Wilson
  • Tap Dance Sensations, The Foreman Brothers

Tickets for Testify Sunday Brunch include access to all of The Living Word exhibitions and performances from 11AM to 6:30PM.

THE LIVING WORD PUBLIC PROGRAM:

1PM - 6PM • Free with RSVP

Take a walk through African American Theatre history with photo timelines, video snippets from iconic works, and video projections highlighting Atlanta's rich legacy of Black theatre!

3D PHOTO EXPERIENCE & NBAF GIFT SHOP

Step into a scene from an iconic Black theatre work with NBAF's social photo booth!  Support NBAF's 35 years of Black art programming by purchasing some one-of-a-kind memorabilia!

FROM THE CLAY LIVE PERFORMANCE TRIBUTE

Paying homage to Atlanta's rich legacy of Black Theatre, this 60 minute production weaves together the companies, actors and playwrights with performances from their seminal works to honor the local talent that contines to make Atlanta's Black theatre community shine!

STAGED READING: IN THE POCKET

Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre presents a staged reading of "In The Pocket" by Gabrielle Fulton Ponder featuring R&B artist, Algebra Blesset. 

Gabrielle Fulton Ponder is a playwright and indie filmmaker whose works have been produced, developed, or workshopped at the Alliance Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, Horizon Theatre Company, Atlanta Fringe Festival, the Emory University Center for Creativity & Arts and more.

SCENE PRESENTATION: GOOD BAD PEOPLE

Enjoy a recorded scene from True Color Theatre's current production, Good Bad People!

The play follows the protaganist, June, as she attempts to make amends with her family after her brother, Amiri, is shot by police. When her family refuses to make a statement, June is forced to decide which is more important: making amends with her family or standing up for her brother's life.

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